On a hot July night in 2013, someone left a closed box in front of the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA. Inside was a sweet senior Pug. The shelter wouldn’t reopen until the following day at noon. By the time an employee found the dog, she was in critical condition.
“They didn’t expect her to live. They deflead her, gave her fluids, and said, ‘If she makes it through the night, we’ll see,'” says Jeanette Upright, who two months later would drive four-plus hours to adopt the Pug. “She made it. She was a fighter.”
The shelter named her Monkie and gave her additional medical care, including removing her badly damaged right eye and two cancerous mammary tumors. She also got spayed and started treatment for hookworms and roundworms.
After a month, the dog was available for adoption. Upright received a photo of Monkie from a friend. She wasn’t looking, as she and partner Jim Leary had just lost their 17-year-old Scruffy.
“But I fell in love,” Upright says. “I believe Scruffy was Monkie’s guardian angel. He led us to her.”
The shelter did not allow out-of-state adoptions, though, a problem since it was in Virginia and the couple lives in Maryland. Upright was persistent. She argued her case, sending photos of their home, complete with a fenced-in backyard and multiple ramps to accommodate her father, and used her years as a veterinary technician as a selling point.
Upright pleaded with the shelter to make an exception for her and Monkie. It did, with a likely factor in the decision being that no one local had expressed an interest in the senior Pug with cancer in her medical history.
On Aug. 31, the couple traveled to pick up their new family member. They soon learned that her previous life, which was as a breeding dog, had left emotional scars.
“She was terrified. She tried to climb under the seat when we put her in the car,” Upright says. “We ended up staying in a hotel nearby for three days to get her acclimated to us, to show her that we weren’t going to hurt her.”
Once back in Maryland, Monkie met fur siblings Habbie and Sheba and soon settled into a routine.
“From the first day, it was like she’d lived here all of her life. She belonged,” Upright says. “She’s like a human. She has her little routines during the day. Right now, she’s watching television with me.”
The couple recently celebrated the first anniversary of Monkie’s adoption by returning to Virginia. They visited the shelter to see her former caregivers and played tourist.
“We drove all through the area, visited different battlefields, and went into little stores to buy her gifts,” Upright says.
Monkie deserves a little rest and relaxation after spending her first 10 years birthing puppies — vets estimate her age as 11 — and more recently undergoing additional medical procedures for a bladder stone. During one, it was discovered that she does not tolerate sedation or anesthesia well, which means additional mammary tumors that have been found will be monitored instead of removed surgically.
“I’ve just accepted that Monkie will always have health issues,” Upright says, adding to the list skin allergies and ear infections. “We tackle one problem at a time and do what we have to do. I wouldn’t trade her for the world.”
To see more adorable photos of Monkie and to follow her new life, visit the Pug’s Facebook page.
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